The Treasures Of Lewisville

Lewisville celebrates its 100th birthday of official incorporation in 2025. In preparation for that milestone, city leaders met a few years ago and asked one another, “Where do we want Lewisville to be by then?”

“Continuing the revitalization of Old Town was one of the most important answers to that question,” said James Kunke, Lewisville’s  Community Relations and Tourism Director for the past 20 years. “That includes, of course, the strong focus on all forms of art that we’ve supported for several years. Our residents and our city council believe art can do so much for a city and its people. It can tell stories, elicit emotional responses, and enrich the entire social structure. We’re always looking for ways to support and to grow our arts program, and our public art has excellent financial support.”

The addition of the Lewisville Grand Theater to the Old Town landscape was one way to introduce new artistic pathways. It opened in 2011 with a 296-seat theater, 2,200-square foot art gallery, dance recital hall, and several classrooms. The center is used by art groups in the Greater Lewisville area as well as for national shows, exhibits, and performances.

“COVID-19 clobbered us last year,” Kunke said. “Prior to that, we averaged 220 shows and performances per year at the Grand Theater. Everything is coming back, but it’s taking time. Meanwhile, there are more big projects on the drawing board.”

One of the most popular performance events is the Sounds of Lewisville summer concert series. It began in 1991 and is held in the courtyard (Wayne Ferguson Plaza) of the Grand Theater every Tuesday. Admission is free, and each concert includes an opening group followed by the headliner. It’s summer breezes, picnics, sing-alongs, and tributes to famous artists.

There is no denying that Lewisville is literally a treasure house of art, festivals, and cultural events, but many of its jewels are in the shadow of the public radar. For instance, there are nine impressive public sculptures and five art benches. The recent April Scavenger Hunt led participants to most of these, and, for many, it was a first-time look.  A Public Art Master Plan was adopted in 2018, mapping out what kind of art would be installed in the city as well as a plan for its placement.

“We put out calls for many of our new projects,” Kunke explained. “That’s how a contract for painting a crosswalk at Charles Street was awarded recently. A call was issued, and 24 people responded. We put out local, national, and international calls, depending on the nature of the project.”

Another special attraction is the Greater Lewisville Community Theatre in the city’s oldest building, standing tall since 1885 on Main Street. “Our City Council also likes to promote fun events,” Kunke added. “That includes a number of festivals, such as Western Days, Holiday Stroll, and Keeping Tradition Alive Jam Session with firefighter bagpipes and drum corps.”

He added, “We also celebrate the art and culture of our approximately 4,000-member Chin community. We recognize their contributions and tell
their story through art.”

Not to be outdone, beautiful chalk art walls by local artists, which remains a favorite art expression, began gracing the Grand Theater in 2018. There is a Visual Art League, established in 1978, that embraces and helps tie together all the design strategies. The comprehensive art list is actually mind-boggling and includes far more than we can touch on here, such as a professional orchestra (Lewisville Lake Symphony), Lake Cities Ballet Theater, and the professional Our Productions Theatre Co. And we didn’t even mention Color Palooza. There’s even an official Poet Laureate!

Remember the original question? What will Lewisville be by 2025? Answer: Spectacular!

photo courtesy of James Kunke

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